I probably wouldn't have paid much attention to this guy in the first place but a good pal of mine went to college with him and said he was an all-around good due. He seemed like an all around good dude in interviews as well. Then I saw him fight a few times and his knock-out power was immense.
His nickname "big rig" come from the fact that his coaching staff knew hit hit "like a Mac Truck" and this was proven in Hendricks' rise to the top of the once-exciting Welterweight division in UFC.
There was a lot of talk about how he actually should have won the belt earlier than he did when he faced Georges St.-Pierre at UFC 167. Most people though that Hendricks won that fight including Dana White and every single member of the media members who tally their own round scores. After the fight, Georges retired and Hendricks would face Robbie Lawler for the vacated belt. Hendricks won in an electrifying match.
After gaining the gold, the same thing happened to Hendricks that I have seen happen to many other champions: He lost his drive to get to the top because he was already there and perhaps he was so concerned with not getting KO'd that he avoided dangerous situations and just went for wins on points. I find it very frustrating when champions appear to be trying very hard to not lose rather than trying to win fights. I believe this curse extends to a great many championship fighters.
In a later rematch, Hendricks, who is a fantastic wrestler, simply went for takedown after takedown, only once getting Lawler on the ground, he didn't do anything with this position. Johny knew that takedowns account for points and if he just positioned himself right, he could win on points... of course these are my words not Johny's but Lawler was clearly frustrating with this tactic, at points throwing up his arms like "WTF?"
I can't say for sure but i feel as though the rules on the ground were changed right around this time: Now fighters have to work while they are on the ground or the ref will stand them back up. This doesn't change how the points are give though.
It was boring, Johny was boring, the fans would routinely boo him when they loved him half a year prior. People were fed up with this tactic of not trying to win, only trying to not lose.
Lawler ended up stripping Johny of his belt and it was all downhill for him from that point forward.
He began struggling to make weight and the crowds were no longer enthusiastic about his boring "takedown and then do nothing" approach to his matches. Less than 2 years after being the champion of this division he was KO'd for the first time in his career by "Wonderboy" Thompson.
citing difficulty making weight, Hendricks decided to move up to middleweight where he ended up having difficulty making weight in this division as well. He also got knocked out 2 additional times making his time in middleweight a very unimpressive run of 1 win and 2 losses. This was the end of his contract and Hendricks announced he was retiring but I have a strong feeling that the UFC was no longer interested in him. He had already been moved to "Fight Nights" or undercards for major events. The industry no longer found him interesting and I agreed with the industry.
Johny, announcing his retirement
It's just funny to me that someone can be such an amazing fighter on their way to the top then once they arrive there they all of a sudden become one of the most boring fighters in the sport. His new boring approach clearly wasn't working and once he lost the belt, why didn't he just return to his old style that got him to the top in the first place?
Maybe he was rattled, I dunno.. you do hear about this sort of phenomenon happening to many different kinds of fighters. It was exciting seeing him get to the belt, but then it was just a snooze fest from that point forward.
I used the sportstalk tag this time. I don't know if that is allowed without permission. If for some reason I am breaking the rules, just know it is not intentional